Hot and heady: an enticing calling card for researchers of tomorrow.

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BODY 2.0

THE ENGINEERING REVOLUTION IN MEDICINE

A primer on biomedical engineering.

Veteran science author Latta (Zoom in on Mining Robots, 2018, etc.) here spotlights the fascinating convergence of medicine, engineering, and scientific discovery, offering provocative glimpses into the burgeoning fields of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, microbiology, genetic engineering, and synthetic biology. Inspiring problem-solving–minded teens to explore these STEM disciplines by describing projects so cutting edge they seem like science fiction, Latta also includes brief profiles and photos of diverse researchers that enable readers to imagine themselves pursuing similar careers. Says Dr. Gilda Barabino, “I think there’s a little bit of an engineer in everybody. It’s curiosity! Everybody wants to know how things work.” Areas of potential breakthrough covered include brain-computer interfaces that may one day allow people with paralysis or limited mobility to move their limbs or control a robot helper; editing the human genome to treat chronic diseases like sickle cell disease by removing and replacing damaged DNA; optogenetics, which hopes to combine gene therapy with light to reduce pain and cure blindness; and growing bespoke body parts like bone, skin, arteries, and more in the lab, seeded by one’s own cells and partially crafted by 3-D bioprinters. Full-color diagrams and photos combined with informative text boxes and a lively, conversational style make this an appealing choice.

Hot and heady: an enticing calling card for researchers of tomorrow. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2813-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Vivid and occasionally gruesome but always engrossing.

BLOOD, BULLETS, AND BONES

THE STORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE FROM SHERLOCK HOLMES TO DNA

Thanks to such popular television shows as Bones and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, forensic science is typically thought of as a modern, cutting-edge dimension of criminal investigation, but this fascinating history reveals that it has been practiced for thousands of years.

Two thousand years ago, Chinese coroners determined murder as cause of death through the examination of victims’ bodies. The ancient Chinese also pioneered fingerprint evidence. The first poison test was used in 1751 to prove that Englishwoman Mary Blandy murdered her father with arsenic. Heos adeptly uses many such real-life cases to chronicle the history and evolution of forensic science. England was the first country to require all coroners to be medical doctors, expanding the field of forensic pathology. English investigators also pioneered the use of firearm evidence to solve a 1794 murder. The rises of other investigative methods, such as criminal profiling, DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, and victimology, are examined in the context of such famous investigations as the Jack the Ripper murders, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and the murder of the Romanovs in 1918. Heos also takes pains to discuss how often DNA analysis has been used to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

Vivid and occasionally gruesome but always engrossing. (photos, glossary, notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238762-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Entertaining and enlightening.

THE DISAPPEARING SPOON

AND OTHER TRUE TALES OF MADNESS, LOVE, AND THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD FROM THE PERIODIC TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS

In his debut, Science magazine reporter Kean uses the periodic table as a springboard for an idiosyncratic romp through the history of science.

Ranking Dmitri Mendeleev’s creation of the first version of the periodic table (“one of the great intellectual achievements of humankind”) alongside achievements by Darwin and Einstein, the author extends the metaphor of a geographical map to explain how the location of each element reveals its role—hydrogen and chlorine in the formation of an acid, carbon as the building block of proteins, etc.—and how gaps in the table allowed for future discoveries of new elements. Kean presents the history of science beginning with Plato, who used the Greek word for element for the first time in the belief that elements are fundamental and unchanging. The author then looks at Marie Curie, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 for her discovery that the radioactivity of uranium was nuclear rather than chemical. Kean suggests that nuclear science not only led to the Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb, but was instrumental in the development of computers. The women employed by the Manhattan Project, he writes, in “hand-crunching long tables of data…became known by the neologism ‘computers.’ ” The author is a great raconteur with plenty of stories to tell, including that of Fritz Haber, the chemist who developed nitrogen fertilizer and saved millions from starvation, and applied his talents in World War I to creating poison gas, despite the protests of his wife, who committed suicide. “Between hydrogen at the top left and the man-made impossibilities lurking along the bottom,” writes the author, “you can find bubbles, bombs, money, alchemy, petty politics, history, poison, crime, and love. Even some science.” Nearly 150 years of wide-ranging science, in fact, and Kean makes it all interesting.

Entertaining and enlightening.

Pub Date: July 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-05164-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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